The highlights from Andhra in 2019.

Jagan storms to power Godavari boat tragedy and more 5 major events from AP in 2019
news Year-ender Tuesday, December 31, 2019 - 12:49

From a new Chief Minister taking charge and the row over the capital city to the boat capsize tragedy in the Godavari river, it’s been an eventful year for the state of Andhra Pradesh.

Here are five major events from Andhra Pradesh in 2019. 

1. Jagan sweeps the polls 

YSRCP President Jagan Mohan Reddy swept the Assembly Election with a landslide victory, and bagged 151 seats in the 175-member Legislative Assembly, besides 22 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats in May this year.

Jagan, who had lost the 2014 elections to Chandrababu Naidu of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), began his year with the conclusion of a 3,648 km walkathon (padayatra), which is believed to have swept him into power. 

However, Jagan's stint this year has not been without controversy, as he has undone several decisions taken by his predecessor.  

Read: 

From YSR’s shadow to seizing Amaravati, the euphoric rise of Jagan Mohan Reddy

The men and women behind Jagan Mohan Reddy's long road to victory

2. Ex-AP Speaker Kodela dies

It was in September this year that former Andhra Pradesh Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao allegedly killed himself at his residence in Hyderabad. 

Kodela was a six-time MLA and a former minister in the cabinets of TDP founder NT Rama Rao and present party chief N Chandrababu Naidu. His death had sparked off a political slugfest, and highlighted the factionalism that took place in the state's Palnadu region.

Read: Ground report: The fragile calm and violent political history of Palnadu

3. The Godavari boat tragedy

The month of September also saw one of the most horrific boat accidents in recent Indian history, which killed 46 people. The boat named Royal Vashishta, ferrying 77 tourists, capsized and sank in the Godavari river, near Kachuluru village of Devipatnam mandal in East Godavari district.

While several bodies were recovered after the accident, it was only after 37 days, in October, that the boat itself was finally fished out of the water. Seven more bodies were recovered along with the boat.

Read: 

Andhra boat tragedy: Stuck underwater for a month, 7 bodies recovered from Godavari

‘The boat was pulled into a whirlpool’: Godavari boat tragedy survivors recall horror

Andhra boat mishap: Did loopholes in govt policy lead to a tragedy for many families?

4. Sand shortage

In October, a sand shortage in Andhra Pradesh led to the death of several construction workers in the state. Many workers, unable to find work and fend for themselves, resorted to killing themselves in the state.

The spate of suicides led to an outcry from the TDP and other opposition parties, which blamed the YSRCP government's faulty policy for the crisis.

The YSRCP government had accused the previous TDP government of abetting illegal sand mining by favouring those close to the ruling party, and initially banned all sand mining. This, observers said, led to a severe shortage with prices skyrocketing, and also resulted in a slump in construction work.

Read: 

Explained: How the politics around sand has claimed three lives in Andhra

AP sand crisis deaths: Families of suicide victims in dire financial situation

5. The fate of Andhra's capital

The entire year has seen ambiguity prevail over the fate of Andhra Pradesh's capital. The state, which was bifurcated in 2014, is yet to have a functional capital. 

Soon after coming to power, Chandrababu Naidu had promised to build a world-class capital and the TDP government even acquired land from farmers across 29 villages on the banks of river Krishna, in a unique land pooling scheme. 

However, ahead of the elections, the YSRCP suggested that it was not as keen on developing Amaravati, as it was envisioned by Naidu. 

Soon after taking charge, Jagan stalled all works in the capital region and appointed a committee to decide the fate of Amaravati. With the committee report now suggesting decentralised capitals -- an executive capital in Visakhapatnam, a legislative one in Amaravati and a judicial one in Kurnool -- several protests have broken out by farmers who gave up their land for the capital.

Read: 

Explained: Why Jagan govt is alleging the TDP manipulated land deals in Amaravati

What happens to Amaravati? On the ground, ambiguity remains

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